C. W. GORTNER is the author of the acclaimed historical novels The Last Queen and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. He holds an MFA in writing with an emphasis on Renaissance studies from the New College of California. In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard in a Tudor great hall and experienced life in a medieval Spanish castle. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights and environmental issues. Half Spanish by birth, he lives in Northern California.